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The AUT University Public Lecture Series, includes professorial addresses and serves as a public platform for introducing new professors to university colleagues and to the wider community interested in their field. In the one-hour lecture, professors take their audience on a journey related to their research interests, their career to date, and the future as they see it. The AUT Public Lecture Series is accessible to a wide audience and well attended by AUT staff and visitors to the campus and we welcome you to attend.

Inaugural Professorial Addresses 2015

Professor Andrea Alfaro20,000 Adventures Under The Sea
Friday 15 May
Professor Andrea Alfaro
Professor of Applied Science, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences

The oceans make up 70% of the Earth’s surface, but we know comparatively little about what lives there. Beautiful and strange creatures have been discovered and have inspired our imagination since the beginning of human existence. Even today, the media is filled with awe-inspiring stories of sea exploration, adventure, and conservation.
However, our knowledge of sealife is limited, and mostly focused on a few species. In this talk, we will meet some unusual creatures and discover some amazing little-known facts about them.
We also need to know more about the animals in our oceans because our dependence on marine products continues to expand, as seafood consumption becomes more important in peoples’ diets every day. Because fisheries cannot sustain this growth in seafood demand, aquaculture production has taken the lead in supplies with a number of popular species such as mussels, oysters, clams, shrimp/prawns, abalone and geoducks. This talk will also showcase some of New Zealand’s top seafood species and the unique production technology that makes our products amongst the top in the world.

Professor Alfaro began research in marine ecology in the USA during her BSc at University of California, Davis and her MSc at California State University, Northridge. During this time, she had the opportunity to be an aquanaut and lived in an underwater habitat for a week while conducting research on a Florida coral reef. She conducted doctoral studies at Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, College of Wiliam and Mary and completed her PhD at the University of Auckland were she investigated the New Zealand green-lipped mussel. Since her arrival at AUT in 2002, she has been researching the complex interactions between marine organisms and their environments, in both natural (field ecology) and controlled (aquaculture) settings. Using innovative biotechnological approaches, Professor Alfaro’s aquaculture work provides direct production benefits to industries in New Zealand and overseas.
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Professor Liz SmytheTeaching With My Hammer
Tuesday 26 May
Professor Liz Smythe
Professor of Healthcare Practice, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences

What matters? In her inaugural professorial address, Professor Liz Smythe will unpack her phenomenological perspective on how we go about our everyday lives. Heidegger drew attention to how it is one thing to recite the definition of a hammer; it is quite another thing to spend a day hammering. What are the insights within our experiences of being human that get covered over and forgotten amidst the theories of how life ought to be?
Further, how has academia privileged ‘truth’ as something measurable, arrived at in a logical, rigorous manner, always supported by related literature? Could it be, as Heidegger warned, that we are still not thinking? As we walk with Doctor of Health Science students, leaders within their clinical fields, what counts as scholarship? What matters when it comes to doing research? How do we convince examiners to firstly value the real world change the student has achieved; research that has already transformed practice? Liz argues that what matters is what ‘counts’ not in terms of numbers or measures but rather what impacts real people in real places.

Liz trained as a nurse and later a midwife in an era where one became workforce prior to the related learning. It was learning through experience. In 1983 she enrolled in undergraduate extramural papers from Massey University when that was considered a very strange thing for a nurse/midwife to do, concluding that journey in 1998 with a PhD. She joined the staff of AUT in 1987, working with Jackie Gunn in the transiting of midwifery education from being a diploma programme within nursing, to a stand-alone Direct Entry degree qualification. For the last 20 years Liz has taught postgraduate students from across all the health disciplines, within the MHSc, the DHSc and with individual students doing their PhDs. She has come to recognise how much they have in common for their practice is always as a person working with another person. She is currently the Associate Head of the School of Clinical Sciences, and the Programme Leader of the Doctor of Health Sciences.
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  • Wednesday 22 July
    Professor Richard Siegert
    Professor of Psychology and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
  • Monday 10 August
    Professor John Tookey
    Professor of Engineering, Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies
  • Tuesday 25 August
    Professor Judy McGregor
    Professor of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Faculty of Culture and Society
  • Tuesday 22 September
    Professor Rhema Vaithianathan
    Professor of Economics, Faculty of Business and Law
  • Friday 9 October
    Professor Jiling Cao
    Professor of Mathematics, Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies
  • Tuesday 20 October
    Professor Asheq Rahman
    Professor of Accounting, Faculty of Business and Law

RSVP and Venue Details

4.30pm - 5.30pm
WA Building Conference Centre
City Campus
Level 2, WA Building
55 Wellesley Street East

Refreshments will be served after each address

Please RSVP to:

Last updated: 29-Apr-2015 9.01am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.